Lye Meadow

Ground No. 90
Visited - Tuesday 11th April 2006
Result - Alvechurch 2-0 Oldbury United
Competition - Midland Football Alliance
Attendance - 45

For some time I’d been looking forward to going to Alvechurch, and with the nights finally getting lighter, it gave me the opportunity to visit the ground and still be able to take some pictures.

Unfortunately, on the day of the game, there had been quite a lot of heavy rain, so I had been in two minds as to whether to go, but decided to make the effort, so caught the train from Wolverhampton at 5:30pm, and after a change in Birmingham, soon arrived into Alvechurch just after 7pm.

For those who don’t know, Alvechurch is a small village, located in the Worcestershire countryside, halfway between Birmingham and Redditch. After leaving the station, you really can’t help but become aware of this, walking down the rural lanes, with fields to one side, before walking past the picturesque church, and the village centre, heading out into the countryside. The ground is located a just outside of the village, and with the rain having stopped, and the sun doing it’s best to brighten the last few hours of the day up, it really was quite a pleasant walk, and certainly the nicest one I have ever made whilst going to a football match/ground.

After having reached the ground and going in, I was greeted with the sight of the players, rather unusually, all warming-up on a small piece of grass adjacent to the pitch, in the far corner of the ground. On closer inspection, it soon became obvious as to why, with the infamous Lye Meadow pitch playing up to its reputation, being in an awful condition, and really having suffered from the earlier downpour. At this point, (as the picture below shows), I really couldn’t see how the game could go ahead, but after having gone round taking a few pictures, it seemed apparent that it would do, so that really was quite a surprise.

The ground itself, as with the village, is in a lovely setting, with trees on all sides, and hills in the distance, making it (even with the bad weather), a good place to watch the game. As for the buildings, on one side stands the clubhouse, with the changing rooms centred on the halfway line, whilst on the opposite side of the pitch sits the one and only stand, which again, centred on the halfway line, stretches for just under a quarter of the length of the pitch, and features 5 rows of seating. Other than the turnstile block, there is nothing at the South end of the ground, whilst at the North end, although there initially doesn’t seem to be any structures, on closer inspection, there is actually a few steps of terracing, although they look quite odd, as they don’t run at the same level, instead, due to the slope of the pitch, they form steps both looking at the pitch, and looking at them sideways on (see picture for better explanation!).

After having taken enough pictures, I eventually went and sat in the stand, and was greeted by another surprise, when the teams came out at 7:30pm, and kicked off 15 minutes early. Apparently the reasoning for this was to hope that the pitch would dry up if the game started whilst the sun was still out, but it did catch a number of people out, with fans still trickling in through the turnstiles up until the scheduled kick-off time.

Unfortunately, as expected, the state of the pitch determined what style the game was to be played in, and from the off, neither side could really take control. Throughout the first half, it was very scrappy, with the ball mostly sticking around the midfield, with neither team being able to create many genuine chances. With players sliding everywhere, tackles were rash, and the physios from each side were on constant stand-by, and it was a wonder that there weren’t any serious injuries by half-time.

In the second half, with the heavy pitch taking a notable effect on the stamina of the Oldbury team, Alvechurch were able to get more into it, and it was no great surprise when they took the lead in the 57th minute. After some good link up play, the ball came to Ben Usher, who from about 25-30 yards out, smashed it home, giving the Oldbury goalkeeper no chance. It was all Alvechurch after this, and with 10 minutes to go, they made sure of the victory, when Adrian Parkes headed home from a good cross. Oldbury didn’t totally give in at this, and went close on a couple of occasions afterwards, but with time drawing in, it was never going to be their night, and so the game finished 2-0. Probably due to the weather, it had been a poor turnout, with only 45 in attendance, (the lowest of the season at Lye Meadow), but with most of them seeming to be Alvechurch fans, they went home happy.

Due to the game kicking off early, it gave me the chance to catch an earlier than expected train, so as soon as the final whistle went, I left the ground, walking as fast as possible back to the train station, just about making it as the train was pulling in. One thing I hadn’t thought about earlier, was with the rural location, I ended up having to walk back through pitch black, winding country lanes, so that was a slight downside, but I got back safely enough, and once on the train, was soon back in Birmingham, and onto another train home to Wolverhampton.

Overall, it had been a good trip. The game might have been scrappy, but the second half was far better than the first, and the ground wasn’t too bad, certainly being one of the most picturesque I’ve visited, thanks to its location.

Welcome to Alvechurch


Rear of the Main Stand

Looking across the Main Stand

The Far End

The Far End

The Far Side

The Clubhouse

The Near End

State of the pitch before Kick Off

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